I’m not particularly used to reviewing singles, preferring to stick with albums or EPs in which I can assess how the whole release works together, creating a collective feel across the entire record, but Etage Noir have made such a big deal about the new Parov Stelar single that I thought it would be worth devoting a few words to it. Besides, Parov is regularly recognised as the pioneer of electro swing (whether one agrees with that judgment or not), and I’ve yet to talk about him at length on this blog, so I figured I’d take the opportunity.
Now I’m a huge fan of Parov’s mid-career stuff – albums like Coco, The Princess, and The Art of Sampling are still firm favourites of mine – but it would be a lie to say that he hasn’t received his fair share of criticism from the community over the last few years. Regarding his most recent releases, I was rather unimpressed with ‘Mambo Rap’, and whilst ‘Gringo’ was alright, it was nothing special (although the video was pretty cool).
In contrast however, this latest release, ‘Snake Charmer’ is certainly an improvement on those two. I really enjoy the gypsy jazz guitar during the verses, and the piano underscoring the chorus is very classic Stelar. His collaborator, vocalist Sharon Kovacs certainly possesses a unique voice, and it’s clear to see why he’s chosen to work with her, as her vocals perfectly complement the music.
Whilst this is not the Parov Stelar of 2009, it’s still a thoroughly fun and entertaining track, and I definitely enjoyed listening to it. The all-new Parov Stelar band have a tour coming up towards the end of the year, and if I decide to go to the UK show in December, I can certainly see myself dancing along and having a great time to this one. It’s certainly a step in the right direction, slightly away from some of his more recent work, and I’d hope to see him continue along this trajectory.
Written by Chris Swinglis Date: 2019-07-12